Like those in the U.S., European airlines are rolling out guidelines to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED) during all phases of flight. The European Aviation Safety Agency is also looking for a long-term solution that will allow passengers to make telephone calls from their mobile devices as well. If approved, the ability to make cellphone calls would be allowed only on European carriers.
The market for in-flight connectivity is about to step up a gear as passenger power pushes demand to be able to use personal smart phones, laptops and tablet devices, according to leading provider OnAir.
The Federal Communications Commission has said it won’t continue exploring the feasibility of allowing passengers to use their personal cellphones to make calls in flight, basing its decision on concerns raised by cellular providers over possible airborne interference with ground networks.
European authorities apparently do not share the qualms the Federal Communications Commission and FAA have about the in-flight use of personal cellphones. At the Paris Air Show in June, mobile telephony service provider OnAir announced that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the airborne GSM equipment that supports OnAir Services for use on the Airbus A318.
Widespread testing has proven that new technology allows for in-flight use of cell phones without disrupting terrestrial networks. Now developers face the challenge of winning airworthiness approval for the systems and the licenses to use the relevant frequencies.
A device that its Australian inventor says will let in-flight cellphone users access a variety of data functions without interfering with aircraft avionics and terrestrial cellular networks will be formally unveiled at this month’s World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) Conference, held from September 12 to 15 in Miami.